April 2003 Archives

I'm behind on reading; I've only managed to get up to page 315 of 502 in The Name of the Rose. Adso's had his 'encounter', Wlliam is deciphering codes left and right, and I'm just waiting for the next death to occur so the story can push along. Still an interesting read, but I'm more to eager to read Foucault's Pendulum (to find out about the Knights Templar), and so I'm distracted reading.

So, the war is almost officially 'over', and now we can begin the expensive task of rebuilding a country that we blew to smithereens not 2 months ago. Nice.

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In reading The Name of the Rose, and in preparation (once it's completed) for reading Foucault's Pendulum, I did some searching for information regarding the Knights Templar. Very, very fascinating (that is, the original Knights).

I've seen a lot of movies lately, and I'm entering this weekend without any Netflix DVDs in the household, which is a crying shame. I'm expecting Red Dragon tomorrow.

Anyways, tonight I saw Identity, and boy, it was gory. It had a pretty decent surprise ending (though I figured it out, withdrew my hypothesis, and then later returned to it), one that I hadn't seen done before. But really, the gore was needless and provided nothing to the story itself, not even as a basis for a plot vehicle. In other movie news, last night I saw Gilda. The story line begins with promise, but fades roughly 3/4 of the way through into non-existance. Rita Hayworth's character was played well in this movie, and Glenn Ford put forth his usual good effort. Perhaps it was touted too much? And last (and certainly not least), I viewed The Devil in a Blue Dress, which can't truly stand on its purpoted merits of film-noir, but functions excellently in a cultural capacity, and provides a vehicle for Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle to truly shine.

OK. I'm feeling lately that it's high-time to let the Tivo record its shows, but instead of watching stuff, let it pile up and actually _finish_ reading The Name of the Rose. TV you can watch with no sense of accomplishment (unless it's educational), but a meaty book like Umberto Eco's, once finished, provides a sense of intense completeness and advancement in knowledge, or broadness. So yeah, it's a 'whodunit' mystery, and I'm dying to know the murderer, but it's more than that. Along the way, customs, rituals, cultures, etc. are discussed and interestingly so. I've now read up to page 186 of 502 - reached the 3rd day, awaiting the next murder to be uncovered and the day's events to unfold. Can't wait!

While I'm here, what is the deal with Conan and his stand-in drummer? Conan draws attention to that guy _every_ show now, and he didn't even give Max this much attention.

According to this article, Foucault's Pendulum will be made into a movie by Fine Line.

Also, I've read up to page 86/502 of The Name of the Rose, which so far, is a fascinating (if also somewhat daunting to comprehend at times) read.

Steve Porter

Steve Porter is an absolutely amazing DJ. Just listening to his Global DJ Broadcast 2002 mix, wow.

Name of the Rose

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I should slow the movie-watching pace down a fair bit, and instead begin reading The Name of the Rose, which I picked up a week or so back.

I've found some excellent, though rather in-depth and obscure college studies on the book.

But crud, then I find out that there are entire Latin passages which are integral to the plot. Sigh. Looks like I'll have to get this book to accompany my reading. My, what an endeavor.

It's perhaps a good thing the movie version of this work isn't available on DVD or new VHS copies, actually. It's always good to compare the original text to the movie - as I've done with Jurassic Park and a few others, such as Fight Club, which, by the way, is an impeccable 'translation' of Chuck's work, which reminds me - I'm so behind on his writing, having only read Fight Club, Survivor and Choke (leaving Lullaby, Invisible Monsters and the yet-to-be-released Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon).

Lots of movies

First off, Charade is a really good movie - not so much for plot (though it's certainly good), but for the mood and feel of the movie - Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant are excellent (who knew Audrey was such a good-looking gal?). Note, however, that the remake 'The Truth About Charlie' is far off from the original - most remakes are (with the exception of the rather excellently updated version of Psycho, directed by Gus Van Sant.

You see, of course when they update a movie to the current time period, something is lost in the translation, that's inevitable. What isn't inevitable (nor warranted) is changing the plot elements significantly enough that those who've seen the original will be disappointed (like myself). Or, at least only do so when it adds to the movie, not detracts from it.

Right now I'm currently 'watching' Reign of Fire, which, judging by the trailer, looked to be a most atrociously bad B-movie about flying dragons invading modern-day England. However, the effects are pretty good and there are hilarious moments as well as inside jokes here and there. Though this could be the last time I trust Epert and Roeper's opinion over my gut reaction.

Prior to Reign of Fire, I had the misfortune to pop in the Ghost Ship DVD I forgot Netflix was sending me. This movie was absolutely terrible. Pure dribble. It's a horror movie (more of a gore focus than I'd prefer), and the story was nothing new.

Hammer's Note: I did not watch these all in a single day - they were spread over a 3-day period.

Wireless 802.11 up and running

Pure joy.

What the screenshot doesn't show you is my elated state of mind that pervades throughout my entire body. It took about 30 minutes to setup the base station (which is a DSL/cable router plus 4-port switch with built in NAT and DHCP), and also because I'm a moron, and used the wrong settings for the laptop's wireless LAN card (and then the setup utility wouldn't let me progress to the next and final step).

From dslreports.com:

your
download 652 kbps

your
upload 137 kbps

Oh, and last night I figured out the hacking that was going on remotely (or so I thought) on my system after I used Bearshare for a couple of minutes.

The hacker uploaded a-g.exes (with a tilde ~ in front of their letter), and whenever I tried pulling up Task Manager, it would quickly exit, so I wasn't able to kill any processes. I finally configured ZoneAlarm, denied all of those spawned processes the ability to send outgoing NETBIOS-ssn port scans (they were all running on my local machine, which is why I couldn't kill them readily) and all was fine.

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Speaking of shake, it'd be _really_ nice to figure out how to block these annoying netbios-ssn port scans that are coming in:

C:\>netstat

Active Connections

Proto Local Address Foreign Address State
TCP gateway:2522 4.42.28.74:netbios-ssn TIME_WAIT
TCP gateway:2523 4.42.28.75:netbios-ssn TIME_WAIT
TCP gateway:2524 4.42.28.76:netbios-ssn TIME_WAIT
TCP gateway:2525 4.42.28.77:netbios-ssn TIME_WAIT
TCP gateway:2572 4.42.28.118:netbios-ssn TIME_WAIT
TCP gateway:2624 4.42.28.169:netbios-ssn TIME_WAIT
TCP gateway:2626 4.42.28.170:netbios-ssn TIME_WAIT
TCP gateway:3161 4.42.29.227:netbios-ssn TIME_WAIT
TCP gateway:3299 10.0.1.128:6969 SYN_SENT
TCP gateway:3300 4.42.30.122:netbios-ssn SYN_SENT
TCP gateway:3301 4.42.30.123:netbios-ssn SYN_SENT
TCP gateway:3302 4.42.30.124:netbios-ssn SYN_SENT
TCP gateway:3303 nycmny1-ar5-4-41-204-81.nycmny1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net:microsoft-ds SYN_SENT
TCP gateway:3305 4.42.30.125:netbios-ssn SYN_SENT
TCP gateway:3306 4.42.30.127:netbios-ssn SYN_SENT
TCP gateway:3307 4.42.30.129:netbios-ssn SYN_SENT

I've got way more than these in netstat's output, but I really don't think I should be seeing them at all, since I've got ZoneAlarm's firewall configured, along with NETBIOS over TCP/IP disabled for this DSL connection.

Trying to shake their scandalous past, WorldCom renamed itself to MCI...

Katie Holmes or not, Abandon is an atrocious movie, one that I suggest you avoid at all costs. It's devoid of any thrills, any scary moments, or any semblance of an interesting plot. Bah.

And of yeah, a public 'you rock' to Verizon for getting their act together and doing what GTE by itself (before the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic) could never do: get DSL right. My connection is pretty stable (inside wiring job incidents aside), fast, and best of all, effortless to set up (of course, all cable/DSL installs _should_ be, but it's nice when it actually goes right). I think Dad and I might install a POTS to DSL filter on the switch outside, instead of relying on the localized, internal DSL filters on each instance of the line.

Last night I finished watching A Walk to Remember (okay, so yeah, I watched it for Mandy Moore's presence alone, big deal). My thoughts - original, but not amazingly so. The pacing was a bit off, but I appreciated that it didn't have a Disney(c) ending (can't say more, it would ruin the plot, feh).

Tomorrow (well, later on _today, since I'm still up and should really get to sleep any minute now) I'll get a haircut, cleanup the moving boxes in the basement (unpack and repack to retrieve essential items), and do general audio/video entertainment and computing wiring organizations.

And oh yeah - I'd like to get a local library card so I can get back to what I love best - reading great stuff like Paul Auster, Stephen Marlowe, Franz Kafka, C.S. Lewis and Flannery O'Connor (just to name a few). I'd really like to dig into an Umberto Eco book, but I just don't have the fortitude to deal with his incredible mind right now.

A day late, but a post, all the same.

So yes, I've moved back to Indiana, after 2+ years of living out in Silicon Valley (San Jose, Mountain View, Cupertino, and lastly Mountain View, again). The reasons were personal, but involve a sense of work/life balance and general ambitions which I didn't feel were progressing out in California. I won't say more on that subject. The drive home was long, but the weather behaved nicely and with almost a full day staying at an aunt and uncle's house in Colorado, the trip took 4 days. We started on a Friday around 6 pm PST, stopped in Reno, Nevada that night, drove most of the next day, stayed overnight (rinse, lather, repeat). Arrived in Elkhart, Indiana Monday, sometime around lunch, I think.

Return to blogging.

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Tonight I'll return in full force to this blog, describing my 2260-mile drive back to Indiana from California, and how I've adjusted since then.

Last night I saw Femme Fatale, and while stylish, something was lacking - namely, an interesting plot.

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